Annotated Bibliography of Urban Wet Weather Flow Literature from 1996 through 200 5

July 20, 2006

Annotated Bibliography of Urban Wet Weather Flow Literature from 1996 through 2005

Shirley Clark

Environmental Engineering Program

School of Science, Engineering, and Technology

Pennsylvania State - Harrisburg

Middleton, PA

Robert Pitt

Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL

Steve Burian

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Richard Field and Evan Fan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Wet-Weather Flow Program

Urban Watershed Management Branch

Water Supply & Water Resources Division

National Risk Management Research Laboratory

Edison, NJ

James Heaney and Leonard Wright

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering

University of Colorado

Boulder, CO

Abstract 4

Introduction 6

Characterization 6

General 6

Rainfall Monitoring and Urban Hydrology 8

Urban hydrology 10

Rainfall errors and flow forecasting 11

Urban Snowmelt 12

Stormwater Quality 13

Litter 17

Nutrients 17

Microorganisms 18

Toxicity 20

Heavy metals 20

Organic toxicants 23

Particle size/settling 25

CSOs and SSOs 27

Solids transport in sewers 29

In-sewer processes 29

Pollution Sources 30

General Sources 30

Atmospheric 33

Roof Runoff 35

Highway and other Roadway Runoff 37

Deicing Discharges and other Cold Weather Sources 40

Treated Wood 41

Wastewater, Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), and Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Sources 41

Inappropriate Discharges 43

Industrial Sources 43

Specific Pollutant Sources 45

Litter 45

Sediment 45

Nutrients 46

Bacteria 48

Toxicants 50

Heavy metals 51

Organic toxicants 54

Monitoring and Sampling 57

Rainfall and Flow Measurement 60

Toxicity Testing 65

Testing for Chemical Pollution and Pollution Tracers 68

Biological and Microbiological Testing 71

Surface-Water Impacts 73

General 73

Temperature and Dissolved Oxygen 76

Erosion, Channel Stability, and Sediment 76

Biological Impacts 78

Microbiological impacts 84

Chemical Impacts 86

Toxicity 90

Habitat Management and Restoration 92

Environmental Effects of CSO and SSO 95

Risk Assessment 97

Groundwater Impact 98

Planned groundwater recharge 100

Chemical groundwater impacts 101

Microbiological groundwater impacts 102

Decision-Support Systems 102

Numerical Models 102

Rainfall analyses 107

Rainfall – runoff modeling parameter estimation 107

Rainfall-runoff models and new programming tools 107

Water quality modeling and pollutant transport 108

Watershed model water balance 109

Model Applications 111

Rainfall variability and effects on modeling. 112

Rainfall-runoff quantity models. 115

Hydraulic models 127

Rainfall-runoff quality models. 127

Collection system, CSO and SSO models. 131

Modeling solids transport in sewers. 140

Pollutant sources and transport. 140

Models of controls. 141

Real-time control. 147

Optimization models. 149

Stochastic models. 150

Receiving water models. 151

Watershed evaluations 153

Watershed Management and TMDLs 158

Geographic-Information Systems (GIS) 166

Regulatory Policies and Financial Aspects 174

Policy 174

Reuse and Water Resources 183

Watershed Management 183

Effluent Trading and Water-Quality Planning 189

Permitting 194

Cost Analysis and Financing 199

Control and Treatment Technologies 206

General 206

Drainage Design and Hydraulics 207

Stormwater Treatment Practices 211

General stormwater control objectives and sustainable drainage design. 225

Stormwater treatment effectiveness. 227

Stormwater reuse. 230

Public education. 231

Public Works Practices 231

Catchbasins/grit traps 232

Litter/floatable control 233

Infiltration and Biofiltration, including Grass Swales and Grass Filter Strips 233

Low Impact Development 233

Infiltration 235

Infiltration 237

Porous Pavement 241

Grass Swales. 242

Detention/Retention Ponds 243

General 243

Multiple drainage objectives and pond design conflicts. 247

Pond sizing. 247

Locating detention facilities in older areas. 248

Modeling pond performance. 248

Observed pond performance. 249

Problems observed with stormwater ponds. 251

Wetlands 251

General 251

Design guidelines. 257

Wetlands for CSO control. 258

Observed wetland performance. 258

Problems in wetlands. 259

Critical Source Area Controls 260

Filtration/sorption 262

Treatment train systems 265

Airport Deicer Control 265

Combined Sewer Overflow/Sanitary Sewer Overflow Control 266

General 266

Innovative CSO controls - source controls. 275

Sewerage repairs and I&I control.. 278

Public education. 282

Tunnels and interceptors. 282

Litter, floatables, and settled solids. 284

Real-time control (RTC). 286

CSO tunnels, storage tanks and structures. 289

CSO Treatment 291

SSO Control 301

Acknowledgements 302

References 303


This paper is a compilation of urban wet weather flow (WWF) literature reviews for the ten years from 1996 through 2005. This subject, urban wet-weather flows, is comprised of three basic subareas – combined-sewer overflows (CSOs), sanitary-sewer overflows (SSOs), and stormwater discharges. The following therefore includes literature citations and reviews for each of these main subareas.

These reviews were originally published in the annual literature review issues of Water Environment Research. Many of these citations have been expanded since the initial publications. Over this ten year period of time, many people were involved in preparing these urban wet weather flow reviews, associated with several universities and with the EPA’s Wet-Weather Flow Research Program. See the acknowledgements section for the complete list of contributors. This paper re-organizes and combines these individual reviews into a single document for easier use. Over this ten year period, the field of urban wet weather flow research has expanded dramatically, mostly due to increased interest in the US because of the NPDES stormwater permit program, plus increased awareness of the seriousness of urban WWFs throughout the world. About 5,500 references are included in this ten-year compiled review, indicating the magnitude of interest in this topic. In addition, the number of references for any year generally greatly increased compared to the previous year. Another indication of the increasing interest in urban WWFs is the large number of specialized stormwater conferences that are now scheduled each year, plus the increasing number of wet weather flow sessions at large international conferences.

Major conference proceedings related to wet-weather flows (WWF) published during 2005 included: (1) WEFTEC 2005, 78th Annual Conference and Exposition (WEF, 2005); (2) Effective Modeling of Urban Stormwater Systems, Monograph 13 (CHI, 2005); and (3) 2005 Watershed Management Conference - Managing Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts (EWRI, 2005). In addition to the conferences listed above, the 2005 Annual Conference of the American Water Resources Association, EWRI’s World Environment and Water Resources Congress the 10th International Conference on Urban Drainage had significant sessions on wet-weather flows. In addition, many regional conferences also had significant sessions on wet-weather flow issues, such as the 2005 Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium.

Major proceedings related to WWFs published during 2004 were: (1) WEFTEC 2004, 77th Annual Conference and Exposition (WEF, 2004); (2) Innovative Modeling of Urban Stormwater Systems, Monograph 12 (CHI 2004); (3) Watersheds 2004 Conference (WEF 2004); and (4) World Water and Environment Congress of ASCE/EWRI (EWRI 2004). In addition to the conferences listed above, the 2004 Annual Conference of the American Water Resources Association and the Low-Impact Development Conference had significant sessions on wet-weather flows.

Major proceedings related to WWF published during 2003 included: (1) WEFTEC, 2003, 76th Annual Conference and Exposition (WEF 2003); (2) Best Modeling Practices for Urban Water Systems, Monograph 11 (CHI, 2003); (3) WEF/CWEA Collection Systems, 2003 Conference(WEF, 2003); (4) 9th Annual Industrial Wastes Technical and Regulatory Conference (WEF, 2003); and (5), 2003 National TMDL Science and Policy Conference (WEF, 2003). In addition to the conferences listed above, the 2003 Annual Conference of the American Water Resources Association and the Stormwater Management in Cold Climates had significant sessions on wet-weather flows. However, no paper proceedings were published by AWRA. Viklander et al. (2003) presented an overview of the conference on urban drainage and highway runoff in cold climates. Other papers at the conference addressed the implementation of stormwater treatment practices for urban snowmelt and winter runoff quality. Many of these conferences produced summary papers of what is known and where the knowledge gaps still exist. Moeller (2003) reviewed the “frontiers of research” in stormwater as seen by the Water Environment Research Foundation based on their survey of stormwater program managers, consultants and others. The paper also addressed WERF’s efforts to advance stormwater research based on the identified needs. Delleur (2003) summarized the evolution of urban hydrology from 6000 B.C. to modern times and advocated the industry moving away from compartmentalized views of the environment (especially as it related to computerized models) and toward an integrated approach based on sustainability of water resources.

Major proceedings related to wet-weather flow (WWF) published during 2002 were the following: (1) Engineering Foundation Conference “Linking Stormwater BMP Designs and Performance to Receiving Water Impact Mitigation” (ASCE, 2002); (2) “Global Solutions for Urban Drainage,” Ninth International Conference on Urban Drainage (ASCE, 2002); (3) WEFTEC, 2002, 75th Annual Conference and Exposition (WEF, 2002); (4) Best Modeling Practices for Urban Water Systems, Monograph 10 (CHI, 2002); (5) Watershed, 2002 Conference (WEF, 2002); (6) WEF/CWEA Collection Systems, 2002 Conference(WEF, 2002); (7) 8th Annual Industrial Wastes Technical and Regulatory Conference (WEF, 2001); and (8), 2002 National TMDL Science and Policy Conference (WEF, 2002).

Many of these conferences produced summary papers of what is known and where the knowledge gaps still exist. Heaney (2002b) reported on research needs to quantify the impacts of urbanization on streams. Keyes (2002) presented the EWRI/ASCE perspective on urban watershed needs in the 21st century. Swetnam et al. (2002) reviewed the collation, management and dissemination of urban environmental research in the UK. Urbonas and Jones (2002) summarized the emergent urban stormwater themes that were highlighted at the Engineering Foundation Conference on “Linking Stormwater BMP Designs and Performance to Receiving Water Impact Mitigation.” Walesh (2002) described the threats and opportunities facing the urban water field. The paper urged more diligence in applying the state-of-the-art, guarding against software misuse, adopting a holistic approach to watershed development, and rejecting price-based selection for clients needing consulting services.

Schiff and Bernstein (2002) reported on the stormwater monitoring coalition in Southern California and the stormwater research needs identified by the coalition. The projects identified by the research panel fell into one of three broad categories including developing a stormwater-monitoring infrastructure, understanding fundamental stormwater mechanisms and processes, and assessing receiving water impacts. A further refinement identified seven projects that relate to identifying receiving water impacts. These projects included identifying the causes of impacts in receiving waters, developing bioassessment indicators and protocols, developing improved toxicity testing procedures, developing rapid response indicators for microbial contamination, developing microbial source tracking protocols, evaluating BMP effects on receiving waters, and developing improved indicators of peak flow impacts.

Major proceedings related to WWFs published during 2001 were: (1) ASCE EWRI Conference – Bridging the Gap: Meeting the World’s Water and Environmental Resources Challenges (ASCE, 2001); (2) WEFTEC 2001, 74th Annual Conference and Exposition (WEF, 2001); (3) 5th International Conference: Diffuse/Nonpoint Pollution and Watershed Management (IWA, 2001); (4) Models and Applications to Urban Water Systems, Monograph 9 (CHI, 2001); (5) 2001 A Collection Systems Odyssey: Integrating O&M and Wet Weather Solutions (WEF, 2001); (6) 7th Annual Industrial Wastes Technical and Regulatory Conference (WEF, 2001); and (7) Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Watershed Management (ASCE, 2001).

Major proceedings related to WWFs published during 2000 included: (1) 2000 Joint Conference on Water Resources Engineering and Water Resources Planning & Management (ASCE, 2000); (2) WEFTEC 2000, 73rd Annual Conference and Exposition (WEF, 2000); (3) Collection Systems Wet Weather Pollution Control: Looking into Public, Private and Industrial Issues (WEF, 2000); (4) Watershed Management 2000 (WEF, 2000); (5)Applied Modeling of Urban Water Systems, Proceedings of the Conference on Stormwater and Urban Water Systems Modeling (CHI, 2000); and (6) 2000 Annual Meeting and International Conference of the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH, 2000).

During 1999, the major published WWF related conference included: (1) National Conference on Retrofit Opportunities for Water Resource Protection in Urban Environments; (2) Comprehensive Stormwater & Aquatic Ecosystem Management, Auckland, New Zealand; (3) the Eighth International Conference on Urban Storm Drainage, Sydney, Australia; (4) Water Environment Federation 72nd Annual Conference and Exposition, New Orleans, LA; (5) American Society of Civil Engineers 26th Annual Conference, Water Resources Planning and Management, Tempe, Arizona; (6) American Water Resources Association 1999 Annual Water Resources Conference – Watershed Management to Protect Declining Species, Seattle, WA; and (7) New Applications in Modeling Urban Water Systems, Guelph, Canada.

For 1996, much of the literature cited came from documents covering noteworthy global conferences (Bathala, 1996; Eng. Foundation, 1996; EPA 1996a; Hallam et al., 1996; Int. Water Res. Assoc., 1996; Maxwell et al., 1996; Sieker and Verworn 1996; Soc. Environ. Toxicol. and Chem., 1996; Water Environ. Fed., 1996a, 1996b, and 1996c.). In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (EPA, 1996b, 1996c, 1996d, and 1996e) published guidance documents which are discussed in more detail in the subsection entitled “Regulatory Policies and Financial Aspects”. The proceedings of several global conferences on urban stormwater management were also published in 1996. James (1996) edited a book overviewing 18 papers dealing with the modeling aspects of urban stormwater. These papers address a variety of topics including the use of the models themselves, data management including GIS, and the interrelationships between stormwater treatment practices and water quality. The two-volume proceedings of RIVERTECH96 (Maxwell et al., 1996) provided many papers related to urban-stormwater management. The proceedings from a national conference on SSOs provide an excellent information source on SSO problems generally and infiltration/inflow (I/I) problems in particular (EPA, 1996a). The three-volume proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Urban Storm Drainage, held in Hannover, Germany, provide an excellent source of information regarding new developments throughout the world (Sieker and Verworn, 1996).


There has been a dramatic shift in the objectives associated with drainage design over the past decades. Burian, et al. (1999) presented a historical development of WWF management as part of the EPA-sponsored research effort on developing designs for the future (Pitt, et al. 1998a). An extensive annotated bioliography was prepared containing several thousand references tracing the history of drainage design and associated hydraulic and water quality issues. This biobiography (in both text from and in searchable ProCite formats) is available from the student organization AWRA web page at the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Alabama.

An overview of the evolution of urban drainage, illustrating where the concept of a single design objective was replaced by the sustainability concept, was provided by Marsalek (2000a). The advances highlighted by Marsalek included improved (dynamic) control of urban drainage, source controls, integrated modeling, public and political support, innovative university training, sustainable funding, adaptive water management, and investment in research and development (Marsalek 2000b). The paper also highlighted the future challenge of involving the public in the planning of drainage systems and protection of urban waters (Marsalek 2000c). Cigana and Couture (2000) advanced a list of key steps required to achieve a global approach to wet weather issues.

The overall challenges of urban drainage design and monitoring were discussed by both Marsalek and Kok (2000) and by Cigana (2000a). Cigana provided a discussion of the pollution resulting from stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows (CSOs). The paper also reviewed the technologies available to control this pollution. Marsalek and Kok noted that the effectiveness of stormwater stormwater treatment practices is not fully understood, and advocated future research into the design, operation and maintenance of these pollution control practices. Field (2000) presented an overview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) urban watershed wet-weather flow (WWF) research program. U.S. EPA divided its 1996 research plan into five major areas: characterization and problem assessment, watershed management, toxic substances characterization and control, control technologies, and infrastructure improvement. Since that time, other organizations, notably the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), have reviewed WWF research programs and developed associated research needs reports, an effort that EPA endorses.

Sullivan and Field (1999) presented an overview of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WWF research program, which was expanded in October 1995 with the establishment of the Urban Watershed Management Branch at Edison, New Jersey. Research priorities for 1999 were presented as well as efforts to collaborate with other government organizations and professional societies. Watershed management research at ORD’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) addressed the following question: what effective watershed management strategies were available and how do communities select the most appropriate subset from these to match specific watershed needs? (Borst and O’Shea, 1999). Heaney et al. (1999) presented the results of a national assessment of research needs in urban WWF management. Three interrelated categories of urban WWF management were discussed: CSO, SSO, and urban stormwater discharges.

Based on the past 30 years of research on urban WWF water quality, impact, modeling, control, and treatment demonstrated results, Field et al. (1997a) delineated a framework of future research directions for risk management of urban WWF.

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